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Baylor, thin as usual, not only has to combat the conceded depth of its foes, but Coach John Bridgers' Bears must listen to all of the jokes about not winning a conference title since 1924. Baylor fans can take heart that their team loses championships excitingly. No team in the country opens up the game more than the Bears, and with Don Trull still around, the trademark will stick this season. A fine crop of receivers for Trull, including Lawrence Elkins and James Rust, will make Baylor fun again and capable of upsetting the best.
One team that just as well could have forgotten football a year ago is TEXAS A & M. Coach Hank Foldberg, who replaced Jim Myers in 1962, instituted what some critics called the "confusion T," and the Aggies ran more than 50 different formations. They still were led in scoring by departed field goal kicker (he kicked seven) Mike Clark.
This year the pragmatic Foldberg is ditching most of his formations and returning to an attack based on a few plays and power. Jim Linnstaedter, a fine runner, has moved to quarterback. In the line are 6-foot-5, 259-pound Ray Kubala, a tower of a center and linebacker, and Guard Melvin Simmons. The Cadets figure to be ornery down the middle, with Fullback Jerry Rogers running behind Kubala.
SMU is another school seeking recovery under a new coach, Hayden Fry. All through last season, his first, Fry's talent was sparse, but he came up with enough gimmicks to promote a fanatical Mustang spirit, and SMU not only played a close game with every opponent save one, it won two, and Fry was voted the SWC Coach of the Year. This season most of the same Ponies return, including Quarterback Don Campbell, nifty runner Billy Cannon, exceptional Linebacker John Hughes and standout Tackle John Knee. Moreover, Fry has products of the best freshman team in the SWC last year, including such outstanding prospects as Mac White, a quarterback, Mike Tabor, a 215-pound fullback, and Guard Jim Sitton. "All we were looking for were warm bodies a year ago," says Fry. "The bodies are a little warmer and there are a few more of them now."
The warmest body in the league may well belong to Donny (Boom Boom) Anderson, who is expected to lead Coach J T King and TEXAS TECH out of the wilderness of the South Plains. Anderson is 6 feet 3, weighs 195 and is already called by some the finest back ever to enroll at Tech. In high school he put the shot 53 feet, ran the high hurdles in 14.9, high-jumped 6 feet 2 and turned down a baseball offer promising him an off-season eight-year college education at $800 per month. Anderson is one of many sophomores King will rely on as Tech recruiting begins to pay dividends. Quarterback will be shared by two rookies, Ben Elledge and Danny Scarborough, both among the "most wanted" list during their senior year in high school. Another sophomore, Leo Lowery of Lovington, N. Mex., will be at fullback. There is one outstanding senior, End David Parks, whom King considers to be "the kind of boy a coach gets once in 10 years." Tech will have to prove itself in 1963, but Donny Anderson may have the Red Raiders coming faster than anyone suspects.
Outside the Southwest Conference, exceptional backfield men continue to float around all over Texas. The UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON even has a gravedigger for a halfback. He is Joe Lopasky, a 205-pound junior from Lehman, Pa. who worked in a cemetery at home before scoring three touchdowns against Baylor and personally annihilating Miami of Ohio in the Tangerine Bowl. "He's one of the best runners I've seen inside the 20," says Coach Bill Yeoman, who came to Houston from Duffy Daugherty's staff at Michigan State. "Our whole backfield potential is greater than any I saw at Michigan State, but we'll need it." The Cougars have a stiff independent schedule that includes Auburn, Ole Miss, Alabama, Baylor, Texas A & M and Mississippi State.
Another foreigner in Texas, Pistol Pete Pedro from Massachusetts, is back for his senior year at WEST TEXAS STATE. Pedro is only 5 feet 9 and 165 pounds, but he has exceptional speed and superb balance. Although injured for the better part of four games as a junior last year, he still gained 831 yards and put Coach Joe Kerbel's team in the Sun Bowl. The Buffaloes should be headed there again.
If Pete Pedro is too fast for the pro scouts to keep up with, they will probably linger a while at NORTH TEXAS STATE, where Coach Odus Mitchell has three bright prospects across the top of his T—All-Missouri Valley Fullback Dwain Bean and Halfbacks Bobby Smith and A. D. Whitfield. For two years Smith has been called "the new Abner Haynes," but Bean and Whitfield have proved just as devastating.
Texas Western and Trinity have little experience and the accent is clearly on the future for both. Sophomore Jerry Tucker adds passing to Texas Western's attack. Halfback Obert Logan, who averaged 5.2 yards a year ago, is Trinity's man to stop. Everything at ABILENE CHRISTIAN hinges on the slick running of Owen Morrison again. His habit is breaking up games, as Fresno State and MCMURRY can testify. If McMurry's Don Mraz, who runs and passes, does well by his quarterback inheritance, the Indians should be better than their 6-4 record, HARDIN-SIMMONS is putting all of its hopes on Pat Batten, a 220-pound halfback who makes 4.2 yards each time he carries the ball. Good as Batten is, his team must expect nothing but the worst.